High prices and a lack of content are stymieing growth of iPad wannabes in Europe but Chinese and Taiwanese vendors could mount a stiffer challenge, according to a report by tech research company Forrester. Pretenders to Apple's fondleslab crown are off the mark, the analyst says. However even the US titan is vulnerable to …
>>High prices and a lack of content
Why should low price suddenly cure content? If Google are struggling with Android 3 for content (as the article seems to suggest), then why would cheap unbranded crap from the Far East do any better? If anything it means more fragmentation.
However, the author fails to understand that purchase of the bit of kit is only half the battle, its the user continuing to use the kit long after it's been bought is the key number, and Apple have that in the bag totally.
Cheap crap will simply be the dog bought for Christmas. There will be no need for high level content as it'll soon be abandoned.
If these tablets aren't running Android, then it'll be fragmentation at it's worse. Fail. Poor article.
Implication is that a lowere price and/or more content (presumably stuff of the perceived quality of ipad apps) will drive up sales.
A lower priced slab would be more appealing even with less content.
I'm certain many manufacturers would be tolerant of people buying a tablet and giving up on it, the sellers of apps less so.
Doesn't make sense
Why would someone who doesn't want to spend money on the device in the first place, then go on to buy lots of (expensive) content afterwards?
By buying a cheap device in the first place, they have already labeled themselves as tight arses.
Struggling for content?
> If Google are struggling with Android 3 for content
As far as "content" goes, an Android device is very accomodating. I might not be able to buy some DRM laden movie with extra vendor lock included from Google but then I don't really need to. Android devices will more easily accomodate whatever I might have.
Why do I want to buy apps in the first place? I have a browser.
A lack of content?
WTF? They have the whole Interwibble for content FFS.
and if android based, that means flash.
And there's one form of "content" which uses flash extensively.
talking of tablets
does the NotionInk Adam really exist? Has anyone got one and what do they think of it?
pitiful in-store marketing
I recently went looking for a tablet, and PC World (I know, I know) had several fondle-able slabs running various versions of Android at various price points (including some high end - Transformer, Galaxy Tab), and over in the Apple section, some iPads.
The iPads were loaded up with pictures, books, games, videos, music, were connected to the interwebs. You could play with them, find out how they performed.
The not-iPads were... well, one had found a WiFi point, so surfing was possible (to find the specs on another tablet which couldn't connect). Another had its photo library full of shots of punters' (thankfully fully covered) midriffs, thanks to its face-facing camera. Those that had Aldiko (or an alternative) were bereft of books.
It was frankly, pitiful. No wonder they aren't selling tablets when it's incredibly punter-hostile to even find out how well a particular tablet works.
Apple support for resellers
The reason you will find iPads on better displays that others in PCW is that Apple provide all the demo content needed for the stores, they even send in the units pre-loaded.
Also as Apple is worth so much to the resellers they have to play by Apple's rules - and they are extensive and extremely specific.
Apple aren't threatened....
At least not while they have the entire media world promoting them at every available opportunity with thousands of column miles of free advertising.
Perhaps the thing thats needed is for the others to concentrate on sorting out their marketting strategies. Nokia still make better phones than the iPhone, were able to download apps 15 years before iPhone came along, yet they have no idea about marketting at all, the BBC then claims iPhone is the first that can download apps (ignoring the truth and just printing Apples press statement) and before you know where you are every tech-unsavvy person in the entire world is rushing out to buy the bling that the media advertised for free.
Nokia end up so far down the tubes and panicinglike a headless chicken that they employ a microsoft employee to sink the most successful mobile OS and pick one of the least successful ones as the clear route forward.....
Frankly its a mess. The pad type market is equally sewn up by the marketting spin, no need for content, good device or anything, if the spin is right the sheep will bite.
apple threatens with ipad copyright infringement
Cheaper than an iPad2, more functional and better build quality and apps.
The only losers of course are those that just buy what they know...
Well only one of those
Define more "functional"? What functions do people want they dont have on an iPad, other than us geeks?
Build quality and apps are definitely no things you want to suggest Asus/Android is better on....
My wife had one - we really liked the concept, and wanted to like it - but had to return it. Quite simply, the attachment of a keyboard and trackpad did not turn it into a netbook; it was still a tablet, and using a keyboard and trackpad was counter-intuiative. Throw in some massive lag when using facebook and office apps (even after 3.1 update), and we deemed it not fit for purpose.
Also, the mechanism of charging both batteries is really, really fiddly (basically, you can't charge the keyboard battery until the tablet battery is full, and you can't charge the tablet battery while plugged into the keyboard power).It's annoying to leave it plugged in overnight, only to find it's only charged up to 13%.
Better build quality?
That's debatable. It's well made, yes. Just not 'better made'. The trackpad buttons were not well secured on ours; one was more recessed than the other, and hard to press.
That's also debatable.
Cheaper than an ipad2?
It's only cheaper if you exclude the keyboard...but then it's lost it's functional advantage of the physical keyboard and extra battery?
Happy with mine
Writing this reply on it, in fact.
Seems to provide the functionality of a netbook for me. Haven't had problems with the trackpad but to be honest even when docked I tend still to touch the screen (which I find very intuitive) rather than use the trackpad unless I am doing something fiddly.
It might be nice to be able to choose which battery charges (I haven't tried plugging the dock in alone and don't see why it wouldn't work), but I don't really see why. The tablet needs power to work (duh) so I don't see what advantage you gain in being able to charge the dock but not the tablet in fact it would constrain you. Do you mean you want to charge the dock whilst using the table, to be able to redock it and carry on?
Haven't used facebook much, the office apps are perhaps a little slow to start but I've had no problems once started.
Build quality seems ok to me. I am interested about your trackpad comment since the buttons have a single pressy bit. Maybe this was an issue they fixed with a one-piece button, maybe you are turfing and got this detail wrong.
As for price, I think you should compare like to like. It's £380 for the transformer and £399 for an equivalent iPad2. If you wish to compare the £430 transformer with dock you should compare it to an iPad with a keyboard dock for an additional £57 and which I don't believe folds up nicely like a laptop/netbook thus protecting your screen.
@ AC 16:31
Turfing? As mentioned - we actually owned one, and rest assured, we did have a problem with the left button being too recessed; you literally had to use a finger nail to get it engaged, and it's a firm action.
Re: power charging. I should clarify - you cannot charge both batteries from empty (tab and keyboard), while plugged into the keyboard power. You have to charge the tab first, before the keyboard will charge. We didn't try charging the keyboard on it's own.
Re: useability. There is one crucial difference between our scenarios: you got a tab with occasional netbook functionality; my wife wanted a netbook with occassional tab functionality. Ie when the keyboard is plugged in, she *never* uses the screen.
As my wife is a writer, she uses the office app a lot, and for text editing found the whole tap-to-place-tap-again-to-select-tap-and-drag-both-markers-to-multi-select-then-cut-and-paste text functionality far too painful to use in netbook mode - she preferred the simple drag-select method of conventional netbooks (windows/linux). It was even harder when combined with above trackpad button issue. She also found the keyboard missed out characters entirely if she typed too quickly. Then, it would auto-correct (yes, I know it can be turned off), but combine all these issues, it was bloody frustrating.
She genuinely wanted to like it - on paper it looked absolutely perfect, and in the flesh is a good device, and in tablet mode works extremely well.
I call shennanigins... Why oh why would you want to charge the keyboard battery before the tablet when connected together???
I think the system is spot on, you can charge the keyboard seperately while using the tablet, when you "transform" the first thing that happens is the tablet charges from the keyboard whether it's plugged in to the mains or not so a while later you can undock and have a charged tablet again, leave the keyboard on charge...
We have both versions of the ifondle, I've tried a couple of cheaper android tablets but been unimpressed, the transformer is a great tool for throwing in the bag for journeys and trips away, functionality? well I can print direct from the transformer, I can download files directly to the transformer, I can move files around the file system (which has got me out of the poo once or twice when I couldn't connect my windows machine to the internet and needed drivers) and behold you can even plug in an external HD to a normal usb socket for managing documents and films etc. oh and of course I haven't had to convert a video file once since getting the transformer, I can just copy the film I want to watch onto a microSD and then watch on the train/flight...
I'd like to say the iFad was as useful a tool, but in our house they get used for what they are best at, kids games and a bit of light browsing (flash permitting)
I believe if you compare bang for buck, the ipad2 is pretty competetive with competing top-end models, only with the advantage that it is a) by apple (and therefore must be amazing) b) appears to be a premium product, because it is by apple. Competetors, like the Xoom, can't compete on price and features at the same time.
And besides, people don't want tablets. They want ipads.
Tablets should not cost so much
The problem at the moment is the premium tablet manufacturers look at the markups that Apple charges and try to emulate it. And then they fall into a trap of their own making. Any consumers prepared to pay stupid money for a tablet will just buy an iPad. Samsung is the worst culprit here with their Galaxy Tab which not only aped an iPad in price but also in it's appearance and proprietary connectors.
There is absolutely zero reason that a nice wifi enabled 10" capacitive tablet with 512MB+ RAM / 16GB running Android 3.x should cost more than €300 with a nice fat margin for the manufacturer. None.
The first manufacturer who snaps out of greed mode and figures that out will enjoy brisk sales. Stop competing with Apple and start competing with other tablets. I suspect with Amazon due about to launch a tablet imminently that perhaps we'll see the penny drop soon enough.
Have you seen the BOM for an iPad2?
The Bill of Materials is about $336 for the 3G/32GB version, many teardowns have been done, and estimates worked out. Or the HP Touchpad has a BOM of $306 for the 16GB version for example, so I am not sure where you are going to get your stuff from at that price.
Did you read what I said?
The bill of materials of the 3G enabled, 32GB iPad is $323. Almost half its retail price. So obscene markup.
The bill of materials of a tablet which had 16GB and no 3G and forgoing superfluous crap like GPS, camera, metal / glass enclosures would be less than $323 probably by $50-80. And that's bill of materials is in dollars, not euros as I referred to.
So it's eminently achievable to sell a perfectly functional tablet for less than €300. And when tier-1 tablet manufacturers start doing it, perhaps they will get the sales they deserve. At the moment they are in greed mode and it is doing them no favours.
As I said perhaps the penny will drop when someone like Amazon turns up and tries to steal their lunch. I expect Amazon will undercut Apple far more aggressively than other tablet makers have bothered to do and it might kick them into action.
so why are they not doing it then? Maybe because the BOM is around $325 to build a decent spec pad? (you missed out the build costs). They then sell this at around the same price as the ipad, remember Apple not only take the profit from the hardware they take on going licensing costs for cables, software, app store purchases, etc.
These competitors know that they dont have any of that because all their future profits are Googles. So they have to make their money on the cost of the device, don't forget marketing, admin, r&d all add to the real costs.
Or they could build an extremely cheap variant as you say, in cheap crappy plastic, with a cheap screen, no camera, etc, and then when they release at $400 everyone will say why wouldn't you spend the extra $100 to get a decent quality, better functional item????
So near Mr Scaramanga, but so far...
I agree. With virtaully all other Apple hardware, someone else will make something similar (or better spec'd) and then sell it for less. It's commented on quite a bit on these forums!
So when you see all these other tablets coming out and being just as expensive as an iPad, then is at any wonder that average punter plumps for the iPad? Admittedly Apple have got a bit of an edge when it comes to having (tightly controlled) available content (well, apps) which is a big selling point. Plus controlling the entire stack does make Apple's life a bit easier.
there's always a chance
That an odm will just look at the chinese and Indian markets and think "bugger" the debt laden yanks there's two billion consumers, little patent protection and we can shift our factories (in the case of India) there for cheaper labour and get around the import tariffs. Knock up a sexy looking tablet only running linux so you only need to support limited hardware (like apple) and you don't plug cameras or scanners into tablets so the hardware driver issues disappear. There's very little need for "the western" world in Asia.
Yeah but ...
... you don't just "knock up" sexy hardware. That takes design, redesign, and redesign, and that takes a bit of cash, and that makes the price higher. If you could just slap together gorgeous kit without the cash, someone would have figured that out by now.
That's what the odm's do, they design other people's brand. Acer & asus have not done badly by switching, it's not the feasibility I would question, but the continual looking west for a target market.
Apple users are just technically illiterate.
They may as well be wearing a badge saying "I dont know what I'm doing, and need tech for the dumb"
That is how it is, live with it!
Technically illiterate Apple users!
"Apple users are just technically illiterate."
You keep thinking that. Oh, and 1997 called, they want their attitudes back.
Dumb and proud
I'm technically literate. It's what I do during my (long) working day - technically literate stuff.
But when I get home I'm fucking sick of being technically literate. And thus I'm an Apple user. Dumb and proud. And OMG I just luv my iPad (gush). So much in fact that I now barely use my Mac 'computer'. I am now able to be so technically illiterate at home it's breathtakingly refreshing.
To those who can maintain a technically literate lifestyle at work AND home, I salute you, but do not envy you in any way. You are welcome to making your life difficult just for fun.
Find a bridge to park your arse under, Paris coz she can park her arse on me
Fondle your slab of choice.
I am looking at getting a iPad 2, I have used a few Android tablets and I find the problems of my Android phone are compounded with the other poor quality of the Android hardware. While I freely admit they are the lower end cheep tablets I am not very impressed by the high end ones I have tried at places like Phones4You and other high street stores. While the hardware is of better quality the applications and the interface still annoy me.
Allegedly poor Android phones...
I find the interfaces and build quality of my Android phone to be quite acceptable and a nice change of pace from my previous Apple device. It's a device that I can actually use for work without fear that it will be overwhelmed by it's maker actually considering that someone might do something strange and actually USE IT.
As long as Apple doesn't forcibly take my choices away, their users can engage in as much mental masturbation as they like.
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.
I wasn't saying all Android phones are like that just some of them, I am currently on my 2nd HTC desire and before that I have gone through 3 Motorola DEXT phones.
1st DEXT Arrived broken, seemed to be a accident during delivery.
2nd DEXT Didn’t charge after a week and the wireless was flaky from the beginning.
3rd DEXT Keyboard stopped working altogether at the 1 month mark.
1st HTC couldn’t maintain a signal even though I was under the mast at the time.
2nd Hasn't been so bad but I just don't like the UI, and I am also not a fan of the Marketplace, sure I know that's a personal preference issue but I find it vexing to look through 1000 spammy applications and reviews before I find one application that I would consider using.
The main issue I have noticed with the Cheepo slabs from China and the phones too come to that is they seem to be poorly constructed, screens that flex if a fly farts within 100ft of it, the case feels more like a poorly constructed toy than something I just dropped a Ton on and they seem to have some funky issues with the software.
I'll freely admit I like using apples stuff in fact I own mostly apple apart from a server and the odd other computer I own such as a thinkpad etc but I am not a die hard fanboi, I'll gladly call apple on it when they cock up but the tablet range and the phones seem to me at least to be the best option.